‘Roided up

Good morning everyone! This is what writing looks like on steroids.  And caffeine, sugar, anti-sickness, and let’s not forget chemo tablets 4-8 of 112 for this cycle.

I wonder if this is what it’s like having ADHD.  Hyper focussed but skittishly moving from thought to thought, able to turn in all directions and none.  It was like this all night too.  I think I slept intermittently and worked my way through a loooot of podcasts.   The next couple of days will be interesting before the steroids wear of and the crash comes.  In the meantime, I’d pump some serious iron if I could just peel myself off the sofa.  Once again, it’s just the mind that wants to move and not the body.

Yesterday’s chemo passed without incident – I was even called to the chair on time.  No collapsed veins or anything.  Just an immediately intense tingling entry site that’s not stopped.  I’m back in temperature management mode for the extremities, which (thankfully) has come back to me.  Things like running taps hot before use and wrapping tea towels around my hands before touching things.  Or heating the kettle to 40 degrees whenever I want to grab a sip of water.  This is a work in progress – my last sip was a painful reminder that my coffee’s gone cold!  There’s as slight sensation in my fingers as I type, but it’s not awful.  Ok now it is – back to the hot tap… 

Going outside will be kept to a minimum in the next few days.  Out in the plunging mercury, I had a chilling return of the throat pain even when taking the few steps from hospital exit door to taxi.  From about that point, my nose started running too and I’ve got something like common cold symptoms and have worked my way through an entire box of tissues.  Maybe I’m allergic to the chemo, even if that is the least of my worries – it takes my mind off the nausea.  Lots of symptoms to manage – I guess it’s a good thing I don’t currently have to do anything much.

Now I’ve returned to this reduced quality of life, I’m really glad to have made the most of my last weekend of wellness. Sunday was spent tidying my flat with invaluable support from Ed and Jude. This was more fun than it might sound and it was a nice catch up. It went so well that Jude got round to tidying my under-sink cupboard of cleaning supplies and we used a label maker to name it in Jude’s honour! She can have the contents when I don’t need it any more – one more item for the will re-write!

Saturday developed into the kind of perfect day that Lou Reed could have turned into a song.  I had a go at making it into another verse but got distracted.  Anyway, it started with a lovely morning at music school looking at promising new pieces and trying to remember that sight reading is not an accurate reflection of what the groups will sound like in ten weeks for the next concert.  This will fall towards the start of cycle four – I just hope I’ll be well enough to make an appearance by then.  As the cycles build, they’re meant to knock you out more and more.

Then I ran home via a couple of park laps to give me a decent twelve mile run commute.  That is probably going to be my last run of any respectable distance for a while – at least outside.  Hopefully the treadmill will come in useful!  I thought of everyone taking on various versions of the spine race which had just gotten underway.  Even in -5 degree temperatures, in the dark, through the snow, mud and freezing rain, I’d definitely rather be there than back on chemo.  Hang on – please don’t remind me of this or I’ll end up committing to something really stupid next year!

That’s if there is a next year of course.  Last time round I saw the sell by date on a packet of biscuits passed to me by a lovely volunteer with a tea trolley.  It said December 2023 – I don’t remember the date because I couldn’t imagine outlasting it at the time.  But outlast I did, and in quite some style.  This year’s biscuit target is a bit more generous to me and I can reveal that the next Biscuit Day will be Saturday October 26th.  Maybe we can put on another gig – coincidentally, I’ve had another band approach me to offer their services.  Any excuse for a party eh!

Once home on Saturday, I watched some cricket and had a nap.  These are my two favourite sedentary activities and these days, it takes a nap for me to face going out again.  But I’m glad I did, even if it meant taking far too many trains to New Cross for a gig with Babel Brass in a little Irish pub called Skehans.  Last time we played here, I had a small group of drunken fans making heart shapes at me with their hands.  It’s nice to be a little bit adored!  This time, there weren’t any love hearts but lots of appreciation.  The band’s pop cover heavy party set suits my style of carefree letting rip on the trombone and it was just really fun to blast out a few solos, including one stood on a wobbly table.

Speaking of wobbly tables, I used to use this one for step ups as well as the 60kg barbell and treadmill drawbridge that was last lowered last year.  My roided up brain says get to work, my aching and tingling body isn’t so sure.  Perhaps I’ll get round to seeing if chemo training is at all possible – I’ve got this pesky marathon to prepare for and there’s over £7,000 of sponsorship riding on it!


  1. Been following your journey. You probably don’t remember me, but I remember you from GBULTRAS Beacons 100. I was part of the Event Team at Mountain View. The penultimate one before the finish. In my other life I too was a Music Teacher and freelance Musician. Still am the latter. Just to say that I’m thinking of you through this next part of your treatment, and hope you have further better health once you’ve recovered from the chemo. Take care.

    • Hi Caroline,
      Thanks so much for getting in touch! It’s a bit of a blur but that race is one of my fondest memories and I remember the support was amazing! It sounds like we have plenty in common! I hope it’s better after chemo too – plenty to get done!


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